Mesut Ozil remains a divisive figure at Arsenal, but former team-mate Tomas Rosicky has hit out at those quick to criticise a proven match-winner and claimed he is “not the one who is not working”.
The World Cup winner, as a languid playmaker who can drift through games at times, has seen his attitude questioned throughout a five-year spell in England.
His creative qualities have allowed him to shine in the Premier League, but a supposed lack of aggression and work rate has earned him as many detractors as plaudits .
Rosicky believes a sense of perspective is required when judging the contribution of a man who can “decide the game by himself”, with Ozil certainly not responsible for any of the struggles endured by Arsenal.
The former Gunners star, who spent three seasons alongside the German before leaving north London in 2016, said in the Daily Mail : “I know Mesut very well. I played a lot of games with him. If you always see his stats, he is not the one who is not working.
“Obviously what the people maybe lack with him, mainly in England, is that he is not the one who is going into the tackles or something like that.
“But if you see it in general – he is working hard. You can see his stats, what he has every game.
“Obviously I don't know about this season [as I am not playing or training with him], but that's what he used to be like and he was a hard worker – even in training. I know him.
“You have to see things in perspective, he is someone who can decide the game by himself.”
Rosicky also believes that Arsenal could be about to benefit from a fresher Ozil now that he has retired from international duty on the back of a World Cup showing over the summer which saw him once again generate unfair criticism.
“It can be tricky at the start for him, but again we will see his development in the new team,” Rosicky added on a player who has shown flashes of his undoubted ability under Unai Emery this season.
“Because I think in the long term it can be positive for him that he will suddenly have a break now and he can rest and train properly, and prepare himself for the Premier League.
“I think he will still be a key player for Arsenal and, if he is playing well, Arsenal will be playing well.
“I am looking forward to seeing Arsenal more and I hope they will grow.
“Arsenal has a new manager and a completely different style, so the next games will show us more how the team is developing.”
Ozil, who has netted in his last two appearances, against Newcastle and Vorksla Poltava, will be back in Premier League action on Sunday when Arsenal play host to Everton .